How To Take Care Of A Puppy? – Complete Guide

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Puppy care is a great responsibility that is both fun and rewarding. In addition, taking care of a puppy is also time-consuming and requires strong discipline. Read on for advice on how to take care of your new best friend.

Whenever you see a puppy, on a TV commercial, on the social media, or along the streets, you always see an adorable little creature with big eyes and clumsy movement. People around that little fella just can’t help but laugh and it really looks like they are having the time of their life. It seems like everything is just fun and play.

However, this is far from the truth. You will have to invest a significant amount of time into house training, socializing and overall puppy care to get to that adorable scene. But, it’s worth it. Because, once you invest your time into training and maintaining your puppy, you will set the perfect ground for a long-lasting, loving friendship, that will guarantee you plenty of special moments with your little pupper.

So, if you are about to welcome a puppy in your life, make sure to set up a good support team and a proper system in order to raise your puppy right. Furthermore, we are here to help you and your family handle your new task correctly, by guiding you through all the important steps of puppy care.

Puppy Introduction

Having a puppy is a big decision. Most of the pet owners know how much time, energy and responsibility a dog requires. Getting a dog is a demanding, but equally satisfying thing in someone’s life. However, raising a puppy comes at a much higher price than simply adopting a dog. If you want to have a healthy puppy, there are mandatory steps you need to take, whereas older dogs won’t need all those puppy vaccines, deworming processes and so on.

Before you decide to get your perfect dog, you should consider some factors that will be relevant for your choice, such as your lifestyle, living situation, and personality.

In some cases, your future companion may find you actually. So, you can feel that connection instantly. However, in reality, that’s usually not the case, so you have to do in-depth research before realizing who your perfect dog is. Be realistic, and reflect on your lifestyle and schedule and also think about what are you looking for in a dog.

Do you plan to walk, or run with your furry companion? Do you prefer large or small dog?Are you really O.K. with shedding or you would love a dog with low shedding or no shedding at all? Also, do you want your puppy to be the best guard dog ever, or just to be playful and good with children?

Next, you should need to decide where to look for your new puppy. You can go to your local animal shelter and adopt the dog that waits to be loved, or you can search for responsible breeder to get that puppy that you wanted for so long. Whatever you decide, make sure to do your research and go with the process in the right way. One thing is for sure, once you finally find your perfect puppy, you will have a friend for life. But, before you become best buddies there are few things that you need to take care of.

Puppy Proof Your Home

Welcoming a puppy means that some things will change, like your home in terms of safety, especially if you are getting a puppy while your children are babies or toddlers. Basically puppy-proofing your home is quite similar to toddler-proofing, although there are few differences, of course.

  • Everything that can be broken should be out of reach, including potential toxins and electrical cords.
  • Secure lower cabinets and drawers with locks or metal hardware.
  • Install pet gates to keep your puppy away form certain areas of the home, especially the kitchen (there is a trash can, don’t forget).
  • Tie up curtains and window cords.
  • Invest in heavy duty trash.
  • Move the shoes where your puppy can’t reach them.
  • Move plants that may be poisonous to dogs.

Finally, this proofing adventure will help both your puppy and your family members. Your puppy will be safe, while you won’t have to worry about puppies safety, so you will have a fair pace of mind.

Meeting The Family

Nothing says joy like welcoming a puppy, especially if you have youngsters. But, you should bear in mind that with a dog you are welcoming a new set of responsibilities and you should be able to lower your excitement in order to prepare everyone for this life change, including both the puppy and your family members. The puppy will be in a new environment. Everything will be new, including new smells, sounds, and also new faces.

So, when you are introducing your puppy to your family members make sure to have a leash on and allow him to explore his new surrounding under the control. This is a safe way for him to feel welcome and free. After all, if you leave your little pup to wonder on his own, a number of accidents could happen. Most new owners think that a dog crate is isolating and cruel, but in reality, this is the easiest way for your puppy to establish good bathroom routine and sleep habits. A dog crate also stops your puppy from getting into an accident while you are sleeping.

Make sure that your children are well educated about living with a puppy and dogs in general, so you can prevent unwanted situations, as children often see puppies as toys. And if your puppy is a larger breed, it means that he is not super small and you don’t want sudden tail-pulling and harsh-dog-reaction between him and your child or children.

If your puppy is at least 8 weeks old, the puppy will adapt surprisingly fast. Make sure to plan mutual activities and to make your puppy welcome and loved by each family member.

Name Your Puppy

Once the introduction is done, you should have a family meeting (including your furry family member, as well) and decide how your four-legged member will be named.

Although naming your puppy doesn’t seem like a big deal, the truth is that naming him should be your number one priority. Choose wisely! After all, you will call him like that his whole life, and you won’t be able to train him if he doesn’t know what name to respond to. Pick something that has a nice ring to it, and is not too long. In addition, it should be simple so your puppy can understand it.

Quick tip: Make sure that dog’s name is not similar to commands that you are trying to teach him.

Gear Up On Puppy Supplies

Your puppy will need a few things, so make sure that you have all needed items. Three ‘must have’ items are:

  1. Leash and ID collar (don’t forget that you need a name for this one)
  2. Water and food bowls
  3. Chew toys

Most of these things will need to be replaced as your puppy grows. If you are buying a kennel or a crate, you might want to buy a larger one so it may last longer. In addition, invest in a proper, comfortable bed.

Quick tip: Have a doggy budget and stick to it. Extra money is for unexpected costs.

Choosing Your Puppy Food

Just like babies and toddlers, your puppy will eat a lot – in small portions and frequently. How you feed your puppy will determine his health and overall well-being. Therefore, nutrition should be your number one concern. So, before you decide on his dog do your research and ask professional help from your veterinarian.

You will see that you have many options when it comes to diet. Some prefer premium food, others choose natural diets, while there are those that prefer to serve raw dog food to their pups. However, make sure you buy the age-appropriate dog food and ensure that it is a high-quality, nutritious kind that your puppy will enjoy. Read more on FDA investigation about grain-free food and potential dangers of it.

Feed your puppy according to its age:

  • 8-12 weeks: 4 meals per day
  • 3-6 months: 3 meals per day
  • 6-12 months: 2 meals per day

If your puppy is a toy breed dog or small breed he may require more frequent feedings, every two to three hours. In most cases, this is done in order to avoid a drop in their blood sugar.

Also, make sure to know what is OK to feed your dog with, and what food is bad for your dog. There are certain foods dogs should avoid and that can make your dog feel sick, like grape, chocolate, dairy products, and SUGAR.

Have Family Veterinarian

Actually, you should find a veterinarian before you get a puppy. This way your veterinarian will guide you through all the steps you need to follow before welcoming a puppy. Taking your puppy to the veterinarian office as soon as you get him is a good way for him to get used to the vet’s office. This is extremely important as you, and your puppy will visit veterinarian often over the course of your puppy’s first six months.

This begins with puppy vaccination, deworming treatments or tick and flea prevention and can often include neutering or spaying surgeries.

Also, your veterinarian is the only one that can identify properly and confirm potential health problems early on, and advise you on what to do in certain situations, like if your puppy is breathing fast while sleeping. Also, initial visit before your puppy comes, is a great way to connect with your vet and to get valuable information and tips on how to communicate with your dog and what are some common dog behavior issues that you may want to prevent on time.

House Training Your Puppy

House training is one of the first things that you will teach your puppy. Often, this is a long process, that requires a lot of time, patience and good organizational skills. There are even some companies that enable Pawternity Leave – a paid leave for people that just got a puppy. These companies understand just how time-consuming training your puppy and adjusting him to the rules actually are. The truth is that some puppies catch on earlier than others. House training in a nutshell:

  • House training starts the same second your puppy comes.
  • Have often and short walks, until your puppy learns to go outside.
  • Form a routine.
  • Have a ‘potty spot’ after drinking or eating to escalate potty training.
  • Always praise your dog for good behavior. Only with positive reinforcement and rewards will your dog be able to learn quickly.
  • Keep in mind that dogs usually don’t understand punishment. They might feel guilty about something, but punishing them won’t make them understand what they did wrong, it will just make them feel sad and fearful.

In addition, if you are the one responsible for your’s puppy potty training you should know at what time you should take him out to potty. Stick to the same schedule and let your family members know about it. Therefore, here is a list of most common times to take your puppy out to potty.

  • When you wake up.
  • Before bedtime.
  • As soon as your puppy eats or drinks a massive amount of water.
  • Once your puppy wakes from a nap.
  • During and even after physical activity.

Important:Puppies are not able to control their bowels and bladders until they are about 12 weeks. So, if your puppy is younger than 12 weeks, be patient and provide potty pads.

Puppy Training And Socialization

There are many things that you should teach your dog, from not messing around the house to knowing when to come and how to behave on the street.

That being said, you should start working on socialization from an early age. So, feel free to have more guests than usual at home and set the stage for teaching basic commands, like ‘Come’, ‘Stay’, and ‘Sit’. Teaching different commands will help you prevent some behavior problems.

Always, but always bear in mind that puppies are active and curious, so they will put anything in their mouth, including your hands, so make sure that he has a number of dog toys around to chew. Not only do they explore their surroundings with their mouth, but their growing teeth will also increase their chewing needs. Therefore, providing enough chewing toys will definitely decrease the chances of your pup chewing up on all your favorite shoes.

Establish a healthy, regular exercise routine for your dog, and stick to it. Having days fulfilled with long walks, exercise, new dogs and people as well as some games, will make your puppy grow into a happy dog with no behavioral issues. If some of these are missing in your schedule, (and especially if exercise is not being practiced sufficiently) your pup might have a higher risk of developing anxiety, depression, or some forms of destructive behavior.

Also, always reward your puppy when he listens to you or does something good. So, puppy training can be challenging and time-consuming, but it will make your efforts worthwhile. Moreover, a strong foundation of training provides structure and gives your dog confidence.

No matter how much you can’t wait to welcome your puppy to your bed, think about it twice. If your puppy gets used to sleeping with you, it might be hard to untrain your dog from doing it later. If you’re immune enough and decide to separate your sleeping areas, make sure your dog’s bed is near your room. However, it might turn out that your puppy doesn’t really like sleeping alone and in the dark. In that case, try leaving night light on and see if the situation improves.

Watch For Early Signs Of Health Problems

Puppies are susceptible to diseases and numerous illnesses that can be extremely serious and fatal. Therefore, that’s the main reason why puppies are held separate from other dogs until they have completed their vaccination schedule.

Luckily, most of the diseases are preventable, and that’s why puppy vaccination is so important. But, vaccination alone won’t prevent all illnesses. The key to preventing illnesses lies in monitoring the puppy’s behavior for symptoms. That being said if you notice any of the following symptoms you should contact your veterinarian.

  1. Vomiting
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Poor weight gain
  4. Lack of appetite
  5. Pale gums
  6. Swollen, red eyes or eye discharge
  7. Difficulty breathing
  8. Coughing

In addition, if you notice any other strange symptoms or symptom that seems unlikely for a puppy to have it, make sure you contact your veterinarian ASAP.

Puppy Grooming

Grooming is an important part of every dog’s life. After all, grooming helps to have a healthier and happier pet. But there are few things that you should bear in mind when it comes to puppies grooming, such as don’t groom your puppy before he is 8-weeks old. The best time to start grooming your puppy is at 12-weeks of age. Grooming includes nail clipping, bathing, blow-dry, and slight trimming.

It’s not advised to give a full hair cut the first time being groomed. Why? Your puppy simply can’t stand still for 1.5 hours being still. Actually, it would be like asking a one-year-old child to sit without moving, playing or going to the bathroom for 30 or 45 minutes.

So, puppies can handle to be bathed, dried, to have their nails be trimmed including the fur behind their ears, pads, and around the sanitary area. This is about all they can handle. But in general, this will be a good experience for your puppy as he will become more custom to being handled for his grooming sessions. It is always better when you start at a young age. Basically, the more comfortable the puppy becomes with being handled by the groomer the better he will be as he grows up.

Bonding With Your Puppy

Dog’s thrive when they have their owners attention, and they just love being part of a pack. In a way, they are always kind of puppies, no matter how big they grow. So, you should nurture the bond that you can have with your dog in many different ways including playtime, grooming, training, general exercise, talking in baby voice, or simply through lots of affection. If you are working on bonding your puppy with your children make sure to be together with them all the time, just in case.

If you feel that you need additional help with bonding with your puppy reach out to professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They will have the best advice that will set you and your dog on the right track.

How To Take Care Of A Puppy? – Key Takeaways

Having a puppy is a life-changing experience. Nothing says love like big puppy eyes full with love. But, those eyes come with a massive responsibility that you and your family members have to accept. It’s needless to say, but the effort you put in growing your puppy is definitely worth it, as you will be forming your true best friend that will always have your back.

Just to recap, make sure you do your research before you open the door of your home to a four-legged furry puppy.

Furthermore, there is a number of things that you shouldn’t neglect when it comes to living with your puppy. You need to take care of your puppies health, growth, and nutrition. Basically, the time that you commit to your puppy at the beginning of its life will have a great impact on your bonding and relationship for the next 12-15 years.

Feel ready to have your puppy? Congratulations! You’re embarking on one of the most satisfying journeys of your lifetime!